The #1 Skill CEOs Look For & How to Sharpen Yours

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The Problem: It’s not always easy to think outside the box, but it’s necessary for success.

The Science: Creativity can be actively cultivated through daily choices.

The Solution: Try these tips to boost yours!

What skill do you think 1,500 CEOs rank as the most important leadership quality? Forbes might tell you it’s competence, credibility, or caring. However, a recent study reveals that Forbes missed a critical characteristic: creativity. The majority of CEOs cited this trait as an essential aspect of success for employers and employees alike. How does creativity set you apart?  It doesn’t just keep you up-to-date but ahead of the curve.  Try these 5 tips increase your creativity to not just survive but thrive in the dynamic workforce!      

1. Take a walk.

Research suggests that walking opens up your mind. When your mind is open, ideas flow freely. You get more of boost if you walk outside. But even trotting on a treadmill will increase your creativity post-walk. If you’re feeling burnt out about your project but still have a lot of work to do, take a ten minute walk. You’ll return to your desk ready to work!

2. Tune into Background Noise.

Scientists found that listening to ambient noise stimulates the part of the brain that controls creativity. A moderate level of background noise creates just enough distraction for you to break out of your pattern of thinking. Off the track, your imagination can wander to more creative solutions. Try working in coffee shops, hotel lobbies, or cafes to improve your creativity.

3. Meditate.

Meditation helps you relax, increase internal energy, and control your emotions. The positive effects of meditation seem endless: it improve your mood, and, you heard it here, it can even bolster your creativity! How? Meditation promotes divergent thinking. That thought process allows your mind to generate new, more creative ideas. Haven’t meditated before? We all have to start somewhere: novices can try controlled breathing and/or guided meditation.   

4. Sleep Deeply.  

Science shows that sleep allows you to think about memories in new ways. This process increases creativity. If you find yourself yawning at 2pm and in need of a serious creative boost, just take a nap! Naps have been shown to stimulate right brain activity. The right hemisphere of your brain dictates creative processes. If you don’t have enough time to nap, simply lay down. Even the act of laying down increases creativity in comparison to sitting. Regardless of your schedule, there is time to improve your creativity!

5. Look at Something Blue.

Focus on something blue to boost your creative thinking process! Are you doubtful? Well, data suggests the color blue exponentially increases your creative output when brainstorming. The researchers posit that blue motivates people to think outside of the box. We often associate blue with the sky, ocean, and water. These auras of openness, peacefulness, and tranquility build a foundation for creativity.    

These tips are quick, simple, and science-backed ways to improve your creativity. Anyone can get #1 skill of the 21st century; it’s not a finite resource. Boosting your creativity and career just got a little easier!

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Hannah Samson

Hannah Samson

I’m an adventure-seeking (albeit sometimes too uptight), neuroscience nerd at Yale University. I enjoy waterskiing, snow skiing, hanging out with friends, and memes. Websites that focus on positive psychology, such as Fulfillment Daily, have guided my way as I prepare for imminent graduation and entrance into the real world.
Hannah Samson

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